Accelerated Sludge Digestion at a Kraft Mill Using a Biostimulant, 2015 PEERS Conference
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Pulp and Paper aerated stabilization ponds (ASB), activated sludge systems, and sludge holding ponds are increasingly requiring expensive dredging operations to remove, dewater, and dispose of accumulated biosolids. Many bleached mills are concerned about removing and hauling sludge offsite from their systems because of accumulated chlorinated organic compounds that are retained in the biosolids. Historically successful use of biostimulants to accelerate anaerobic and facultative biological processes in the sludge mass has increased in situ sludge digestion, resulting in cost effective removal of biosolids in place, without the need for expensive manual removal operations. A large pulp and paper mill in the Southeastern US had significant biosolids accumulation in the quiescent zone of their ASB that hindered treatment plant efficiency and performance. Application of advanced analytical testing using DNA to identify specific microbe species, ATP microbial energy assays and complete nutrient analysis were used to characterize the microbial population in the sludge and improve treatment protocols with the biostimulation program. First year savings for the mill were in excess of $230K, providing the initiative for a multi-treatment protocol implementation in future years.